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Many thanks to Michael Lee Johnson, who has posted a new interview with me on Interviews Poets, Writers.  Check it out.

Collin Kelley interviews me on Modern Confessional.

I am denied
vivid colors—
the burnt-orange,
the reds and the yellows
framing her face,
her softness. A sheet
of murky darkness
nailed, corrosive
barbed-wire planted,
between us:
is it the texture

separates me
from my

sister in Azania?
I feel her eyes, searching—
brilliant world
dimmed by a shabby
over-wash. Intensity
of the human
does not fade in the
slums of life. Shadows
and fences only
bar. The African woman

and I, one prism
toward the light—
nothing halts
the undiluted spectrum.

Inspired by a copy of a painting by Sue Williamson, Cape Town, South Africa.
First published GFWoman and later in Gathering the Broken Pieces

“[An all-white group] is essential to creating the atmosphere of security, safety and trust needed for participants to feel able to express, recognize and change racist attitudes and behaviors. In addition to fostering trust, the all-white group encourages the white students’ racial identification. One of the important steps that whites must go through in learning about racism and their role in combating it is to recognize themselves as white. While… ethnic minorities are forced by their racial oppression to be aware of themselves as members of racial groups, whites generally have the luxury to feel ‘normal,’ not aware of their whiteness.” —  Echols, I., Gabel, C., Landerman, D., & Reyes, M. Ethnicity and Race, 1988

Emphasis mine

For more information see Center For the Study of White America


A soldier keeping watch in the darkness prays for light
yet sees only the firing of rockets. A native woman—
holding, comforting a child—is stifling her muffled
cries to Allah. And surely, each heart speaks.
But who will hear God’s answer,
alone in the Iraqi night?

first published in Domicile (March 2003), and later in Gathering the Broken Pieces, “Poets On Peace #5,” FootHills Publishing, 2004.


EDIT:  I like Obama better than Bush in almost every way, but I’m just as against the war in Afghanistan as I am the one in Iraq.  War is not the answer.  Ever.

See the video at YouTube.


Inauguration Day 2009

There comes a time
in the affairs of men

on a day after the Day
when we honor the Dreamer,

in the century after
the Dreamer’s speeches moved—

when by our actions we shall be known.
We shall see the dream fulfilled partially—

due to the long way we’ve come, baby,
and the longer way we must go

to rid ourselves of those triple ills:
racism, poverty, and war.



Official portrait of Barack Obama.jpg

Barack Obama – 44th President of the United States of America

Last night—thanks to Scott Owens—I read at Poetry Hickory, along with John Amen. I read from my chapbooks Gathering the Broken Pieces and Paper Snowflakes (scroll down) and newer poems from my book manuscript Prayer In the Fog (under consideration but not yet published). I also read a brand new poem, “Captured Light” from a project by the same name that isn’t published anywhere yet.

There was a small but appreciative crowd. I was surprised to see Carter Monroe (that’s his pen name) there. He said he’d come to hear me read, but he’d also come to “hang” with Tim Peeler and Ted Pope (only I didn’t know Ted was there until Scott told me). Next month Scott and Tim will be the featured readers.

That’s Scott Owens and Tim Peeler – Poetry Hickory at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse -6:30 pm October 14.

I got a copy of Scott Owens newly published book Fractured World, (scroll down) just out from Main Street Rag and a copy of John Amen’s More of Me Disappears. Also, John’s newest CD Ridiculous Empire. Did I mention John also sang? Very nice. Very talented, multi-styled singer. Easy to listen to but sang songs that had meaning. John Amen is also the editor of Pedestal Magazine.

I also met Trisha Hart, another Mule poet. I asked her for more poems. Did I mention all of these poets have been in the Mule? Even me—back in the day, that is, before I became Poetry Editor.

Fun, fun night. Thanks to all.

Scott Owens in the Mule
Tim Peeler in the Mule
Carter Monroe in the Mule
John Amen in the Mule
Trisha Hart in the Mule
Helen Losse in the Mule

There were many mentions of the Dead Mule last night. Mentions of Valerie MacEwan, editor and publisher, and other Mules.

On Tuesday, September 9 at 6:30 PM, I will be reading, along with Poet John Amen, at Taste Full Beans Coffeehouse in downtown Hickory, 29 2nd St NW, Hickory, NC 28601, (828) 325-0108.

John Amen is the editor of The Pedestal Magazine and author of Christening the Dancer and More of Me Disappears.

I will be reading from my chapbooks, Gathering the Broken Pieces and Paper Snowflakes (scroll down), from my book manuscript, Prayer In the Fog, and other more recent poems.

Our readings, approximately 30 minutes each, will be followed by a 30 minute Open Mic. For additional information or to register to read in the Open Mic contact Scott Owens:

Owens, Catawba Valley Community College Visiting Writer for 2008 and Founder of Poetry Hickory, has made the Open Mic a regular part of Poetry Hickory due to popular demand. All Poetry Hickory readings are free and open to the public. For future reading see here. (scroll down)

Both John Amen and Scott Owens have poems in the Dead Mule.

For further information see the Wild Goose Poetry Review, where Owens will be joining the staff as an editor for the next issue.

Life flows free in that place
where droplets glisten, where

mean-spirited clouds
released their rains.

Dampened pigmentation
will finger a part I cannot touch,

soaking deep to the very root, tenderly,
anointing a once-slavish soul.

After the surrender, life:
a gathering of broken pieces.

Stillness?  Is that the home
from which I dare not wander?

Today—light, and the spattering
of a wet fern:

in that place I will bask,
though not yet fully yielded,

radiant, in the spring of
life’s possibility.

first published in Domicile, later in my chapbook Gathering the Broken Pieces available from FootHills Publishing

January 2023